GEORGE BELLAS – Planetary Alignment

GEORGE BELLAS - Planetary Alignment
  • 9/10
    GEORGE BELLAS - Planetary Alignment - 9/10


Lion Music
Release date: February 15, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

There are times in your life when you get turned onto a band or some music that you clearly cannot understand in terms its musical complexity, theory, arrangement, composition, etc. All you do know is that you really dig it and that your favorite musician in the band can really play the hell out of his/her instrument. This is definitely one of those times. The UK born guitarist George Bellas was already playing guitar by age 7. What were you doing at age 7, just learning how to swim or ride a bike? Yeah — big accomplishment!

Some people have got it, some don’t. George always had and always will. Acquiring his first guitar, George just picked it up and began playing. A natural if there ever was one — the rest is history. Being a world renowned guitarist in the strictest sense of the term already, George has been labeled by many as a guitar virtuoso, but in all actuality he is much more — he is a composer. He writes his own material note for note. Having a Classical background only strengthened his thorough knowledge of the various aspects and avenues one needs to explore and learn in order to become a complete musician. He was doing that at an early age on his own before anyone told him he needed that in order to excel.

George’s latest release, Planetary Alignment, is a Progressive Instrumental album with one twist. Unlike his work in the past, this piece of work is unique in the sense that it doesn’t have any of the Neo-Classical influences that Bellas is reputable for, but remains within the Progressive realm. George performs all of the instruments on this album himself with the exception of bringing in drummer Marco Minnemann, another phenom at his craft. The time signatures and rhythms on this album are extremely complex in nature and this necessitated someone of Marco’s stature.

The concept and inspiration behind Planetary Alignment was the science of astrophysics, according to Bellas. The goal behind the project was to produce ultra-modern music using scales, chords, and rhythms not heard too often. The approach to Planetary Alignment was initiated by using only rhythmic motives followed by the determination of scale choices, while composing the melodic and harmonic content of the album. Most of the elements found on this release have never been utilized on any of George’s previous material, thus creating a fresh, new sound. Most of the compositions revolve around a Middle C root, while employing a variation of tri-tone based elements. This turns out to be one of George’s most Progressive releases to date.

There are 10 tracks with a recording time at around 61 minutes. Listening to the new CD first time around, you would swear that it is one continuous track instead of ten individual ones. So what does that mean exactly? Is it good or bad to hear and experience the album in this fashion? In the end, who cares how it is perceived by the listener as long as it is enjoyable and a unique musical experience. What George will want to know and what most musicians around the world care about deeply, is whether or not you liked and enjoyed their finished product.

It is without a doubt, almost a certainty, that one needs to listen to and explore the musical aspects and content of this new release many times over before one can appreciate it for what it is — a masterpiece of individual and complex pieces of art (in the truest sense of the word). Only then will Planetary Alignment come into focus and let your mind explore the treasures found within it. This album is not for the faint of heart or the musical listener who likes to rush through an album without actually taking the time to let it speak for itself. For those who truly love the guitar sound and really appreciate virtuosos who really are just that, this is a must buy. If you aren’t in that category, you might want to listen to a friend’s copy first to see if is right for you.

For you guitar fanatics or anyone wanting to learn and progress as a guitarist, you need to check out George’s official Web site (link below). Here you will find a section on guitar lessons. There are instructional CDs and DVDs of all types. You can even take private lessons from the master himself. The neatest thing is that you can even take a crash course where you fly into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and stay 25 miles away at some fancy hotel where you take 2 or 3 hour courses per day with George for one week (yes 7 days, not 5). Everything is taped onto a DVD that you can take with you when finished. What is amazing is that the price is very reasonable for what you are actually getting in return. Of course, it helps if you are fluent at guitar playing at some competent level before taking on an excursion of this magnitude.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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